Published on 12:00 AM, September 19, 2018

Bangabandhu Hi-tech City

10 firms to invest $220m in two years

Ten local and foreign companies will invest about $220 million in Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City at Gazipur's Kaliakoir within a year, leading to the creation of 5,000 jobs in the coming years.

Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) will next week hand over 28 acres of land to the firms.

The 355-acre city already has a local firm, DataSoft Limited, which set up a plant and started manufacturing and exporting its self-designed artificial intelligence products to Saudi Arabia.

The 10 companies are planning to develop software and associated services and manufacture hardware establishing business process outsourcing centres there, said Hosne Ara Begum, managing director of BHTPA.

The authority had appointed two developers about three years ago to develop two huge chunks of land in the city but that process was progressing very slowly, she said.

“We hope these companies will move faster and create an immediate impact on developing hi-tech products,” she said.

The companies have been selected based on their investment plan and current business reputation.

Mobile operator Robi, one of the 10 companies, is planning to develop their own data centre, create a separate service development team and set up an IT team there.

“Various kinds of innovations related to the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence are going to happen there for strengthening the country's digital foundation,” said Shahed Alam, executive vice-president and head of regulatory affairs at Robi.

“By setting up the hi-tech parks, our government has opened up a new horizon of investment opportunities for foreign investors which will have a direct impact on the national economy,” he added. Ruhul Alam Al-Mahbub Manik, chairman of Fair Group, which got 3.5 acres of land, said they might set up a research and development centre that would work with artificial intelligence.

Fair Group, which is Samsung's local manufacturing partner, has started making different kinds of mobile handsets, refractors, microwave ovens and air conditioners in their plant in Narsingdi and the associated research and development might be run in Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City.

The authority has already signed agreements with the companies, renting out the land for 40 years at an annual rate of $2 per square metre.

Companies which are able to develop or manufacture products and services for export will get extra tax benefits.

“We are ready to give them more benefits but for that they also need to show what they are giving to the nation,” Begum added.

The companies have also been directed to start developing their infrastructure within the next six months and to complete all of it within the next three years.

Prince Mojumder, co-founder and chief executive officer of Genex Infosys, the country's largest BPO company, said they were ready to move their firm but a train station over there along with facilities for employees needed to be up and running.

The government aims to earn $5 billion from ICT exports and generate 20 lakh jobs in the sector by 2021.